FRANCIS OF ASSISI,
Raoul Manselli. Franciscan Herald Press, 1988, 363pp.
This book has already been reviewed in a previous issue of
Newsletter. I include this brief note to underscore its value as a reference
for any of us working/speaking of Francis or Clare. Manselli writes: "Our
attempt has been to liberate his biography from anecdotal incrustations
which tend to accentuate characteristics, singularities, and marvels at the
expense of things that are historically and humanly more valid and
meaningful. Freed from such overlay, his biography displays [Francis']
personality...." It is recommended for all
ASSISI: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. FRANCIS, by Theophile Desbonnets, OFM, translated by
Nancy Celaschi, OSF; Editione Porziuncola, second edition, 1993, 141pp.
This little book is an excellent companion to walk the way of Francis
with Desbonnets as guide. A Franciscan scholar from France, Desbonnets
(RIP), leads the pilgrim to the places, explains them briefly with ample
references to the Franciscan sources included in the text. He includes
diagrams of the sanctuaries accompanied as well by several well-placed maps.
He includes information on places outside Assisi, such as the Abbey of San
Benedetto, Gubbio, Cannara, Bevagna, Montefalco, Foligno, the Rieti Valley,
Monte Casale, LaVerna. It has
all a pilgrim would desire to prayerfully as well as historically visit
Assisi in Francis' footsteps.
The Franciscans, William Short, OFM. Michael Glazier, Inc. [Now distributed by
Liturgical Press]. Wilmington, De. 1989. 152pp.
work by Bill Short provides us with a compact survey of the history of the
entire Franciscan Order. It is a summary
down through the
centuries that provides a good introduction to those reading this history
for the first time. It whets the appetite to pursue this history further,
perhaps by reading a work like Duncan Nimmo's REFORM AND DIVISION IN THE
MEDIEVAL FRANCISCAN ORDER, (Rome: Capuchin Historical Institute, 1987).
Bill's chapter on "The Franciscan Spirit" is a gem in its description of
"the spiritual environment in which it (the Franciscan family) lives and
grows, and the climate it creates around itself." Bill concludes: "In these
pages I have assembled a series of snapshots, pieces of a family portrait,
that of the Franciscans." He has indeed succeeded in doing just that.
Recommended for course work for Secular Franciscan fraternities as well as
for friary libraries.
SAINT FRANCIS AND THE THIRD ORDER: THE FRANCISCAN AND PRE-FRANCISCAN
Raffaele Pazzelli, TOR. Franciscan Herald Press. Chicago, Il. 1989. 235pp.
book would be a sine qua non for the summary it gives of the biblical and
Franciscan understanding of penance, the origins of the penitents from the
third century up to the time of Francis. Besides his development on how
Francis himself became a penitent, Pazzelli has an excellent treatment on
the First Letter to All the Faithful (Recensio Prior--the Volterra text) as
well as the later or second version of the Letter to All the Faithful. "The
Letter to all the Faithful could have undergone a development similar to
that of the RNB (also known as the Earlier Rule) of 1221. As we know, the
RNB is the result of that Protoregula of 1209 (1210). . . .In the same way,
Francis could have added to and modified this Volterra text until he had the
long or final edition, the Letter to All the Faithful." Anyone who works
with TOR communities or SFO fraternities will appreciate his work on these
two texts. Pazzelli's writing on both is solid research presented clearly
and succinctly. Definitely recommended for SFO spiritual assistants, friary,
convent and SFO libraries.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE FRANCISCAN FAMILY.
Damien Vorreau, OFM and Aaron Pembleton, OFM. Franciscan Herald Press.
Chicago, Il. 1989. 110pp.
the words of the authors, this is a "rapid overview of the history of the
Order. For the most part, we have stressed people and institutions. . . ."
As a survey of Franciscan history, the authors go through every century down
to the twentieth, presenting primarily a survey history of the first order
with glimpses into the other branches. It is recommended for SFO and friary
and convent libraries.
FRANCIS OF ASSISI AND THE FRANCISCAN MOVEMENT. David Flood, OFM. The Franciscan Institute of Asia. Quezon City,
Philippines. 1989. 173pp.
Anyone who has ever read
David Flood's writings or heard him speak will know that David approaches
early Franciscan history almost exclusively from the writings of Francis.
David, a former student and later colleague of Kajetan Esser, OFM, says:
"The study of Franciscan history begins with an analysis of the basic
document (the Early Rule). For the text manifests the intelligence in which
Francis and his brothers fashioned the action called the Franciscan
movement. That action differed sharply and consciously from the action
prescribed by Assisi for its citizens. . . .The Early Rule throws open the
door on the early Franciscan years. In the phrases of its development, in
the variety of its themes, it offers itself to us as an oracle ready to
answer all our questions. We have but to put the questions well. It is
better than an oracle. It abhors
ambiguity." In four chapters David formulates fascinating questions and the
Early Rule has equally fascinating responses. The book has a unique approach
to our early history. It is highly recommended for serious study or course
work, for reflection, and for all SFO and friary or convent libraries. It
can be ordered from The Franciscan Institute of Asia, P.O. Box AC 570 Cubao,
Quezon City, Philippines.